Pause. Think for a moment. How suitable is the treat you want to give your dog? Is it healthy? Your dog is your closest friend, meaning that you need to provide it with the best foods and treats. Unless you ask yourself tough questions before handing over any treat, you’ll lose your pet sooner than you think.
Pig ears are some of the everyday treats pet owners hand to their dogs. Yet, you might not be sure what these treats are and what they offer. This article explores all these elements, ensuring that you make logical decisions when dealing with your pet.
What Are Pig Ears for Dogs?
Pig ears are treats meant for dogs. As the name suggests, they are byproducts of pigs, caringly harvested from the farming industry. They are made from cartilage, making it easy for the dog to chew. Typically, cartilage is firm yet flexible enough for easy chewing. This treat is suitable for puppies and senior dogs alike.
You’ll often choose between raw and cooked pig ears. Yet, most stores offer cooked pig ears, which are a much safer choice. Raw meat could expose your dog to parasites and bacteria, contributing to health complications. Contrarily, processed pig ears go through blanching followed by rapid cooling. This process aims to remove hair, dehydrate the meat, and improve flavor.
How to Feed your Dog With Pig Ear Treats
The first step towards realizing the benefits of pig ear treats is to understand how to feed your dog. This step requires you to observe enhanced hygiene and safety.
The following tips will come in handy.
Use High-Quality Products
High-quality pig ears assure you of enhanced nutritional and health benefits. These pig ears have no additives, chemicals, or preservatives that could harm your dog. The only way to get high-quality pig ears is to rely on a reputable vendor or producer.
Focus on Hygiene
The FDA indicates that approximately 5% of pig ears are contaminated with Salmonella. Handling these pig ears carefully and hygienically will cushion you and your dog against such contamination. While most dogs have bacteria to help digest Salmonella, it is not always the case with sensitive stomachs. Above all, wash your hands after handling pig ears to avoid Salmonella.
Supervision Is Vital
Take the time to supervise your dog when eating pig ears. You need to ensure that the dog is chewing this treat carefully and responsibly. Swallowing a large chunk of the pig ear could expose your dog to various complications, including intestinal blockage. Supervision will ensure that the dog does not expose itself to health and dietary dangers.
Reasons to Include Pig Ears In Your Dog’s Diet
Feeding your dog on pig ears is an excellent idea for health, behavioral, nutritional, and economic benefits. However, you must prioritize high-quality pig ears, preferably from reputable sources. Here are a few insights into these benefits.
Address Anxiety and Stress
Chewing is associated with minimal stress, anxiety, and emotional instability. An excellent treat should be chewable, keeping the dog pretty busy for a long time. The idea is to ensure the dog forgets its anxiety or stress. Notably, your dog can chew this pig ear for an extended period, avoiding boredom and stress.
Chewing has a calming effect on the adrenal-pituitary axis in the brain, causing it to release endorphins, eliminating anxiety and stress in the long run. In addition, chewing can be an excellent way to let dogs with excessive energy relax. They will likely expend their energy on the process, calming down after a while.
In addition, chewing facilitates mental stimulation. This option is essential for dogs with limited mobility, including puppies and elderly dogs. Since their bodies cannot handle strenuous physical activities, chewing pig ears will keep their body and mind busy and with no discomfort. It will also help avoid bad habits in the long run.
Pig ears are made of cartilage, making them easy for the dog to chew and digest. They are rich in chondroitin and glucosamine, which are essential in relieving joint pain. These elements will also assure the dog of healthy gums, teeth, and skin.
These treats are pretty high in minerals and vitamins, including Omega-3 fatty acids. This acid has anti-inflammatory properties, making it suitable for addressing pain and joint aches. In addition, omega-3 improves immunity and helps eliminate arthritis. Thanks to these benefits, pig ears are a perfect alternative to rawhide.
Pig ears are rich in proteins, which are integral in skin and hair formation. Keeping your dogs skin and hair healthy will help keep away ticks, alopecia, and flea allergy dermatitis. Including this treat in your dog’s diet means that it will have flawless skin and hair.
Above all, pig ears have no additional elements that could prove harmful to the dog. This treat is free from gluten, grains, steroids, chemicals, or fillers and comes with no dyes or flavor enhancers.
Suppose you want to train your dog against a specific behavior. In that case, it would be best to rely on pig ears. This treat will help keep the dog calm, particularly if it is associated with excessive energy.
Disadvantages of Pig Ears
Pig ears are an excellent treat. But side effects and a few issues could arise from time to time. Perhaps looking into these side effects and disadvantages will ultimately help you make logical decisions. They include the following.
Obesity and Weight Issues
You want your dog to be healthy and live long. One thing to avoid in this pursuit is increased weight. Unfortunately, pig ears could contribute to a significant weight increase due to the high-fat content in pig ears. With obesity, there is a high chance your dog will become susceptible to osteoarthritis.
Further, fat ingestion could expose your dog to pancreatitis. This condition implies that the dog’s pancreas digests itself instead of producing enzymes to digest food. Its symptoms include constant vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme abdominal pain.
Bowel obstructions after consuming pig ears are pretty common among some dogs. This obstruction could be either partial or complete and limits food and water intake, with nothing passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, prolonged intestinal obstruction can result in fatality.
Intestinal blockage features various symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, gut perforations, and abdominal pain. You will need to consult a vet as soon as you notice these changes.
Exposure to Salmonella
Salmonella contamination could happen in some pig ears. Studies indicate that about 5% of produced pig ears contain Salmonella, which causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. The vomit and diarrhea could contain stains of mucus and blood. You might need to watch out for other symptoms, including lethargy, dehydration, appetite loss, and inactivity. Fever could also suffice.
Not Suitable for Tenacious Dogs
Pig ears last for a pretty short time, making them unsuitable for tenacious chewers. Suppose you have such a tenacious chewer. In that case, you will consider bully sticks. Here, the idea is to keep your pet engaged for an extended period.
How to Choose the Best Pig Ear Treat
High-quality pig ear treats are essential in ensuring that your dog is healthy and guarantee value for your money. However, you must be careful enough not to choose low-quality products. Focus on the following elements during this selection process.
You can source pig ears from different countries. Ensure that you choose pig ears from a place associated with high-quality products. Most experts will recommend a product from your locality or country. Such a product is likely produced under regulations stipulated by your local government.
At the same time, you could consider reputable vendors. Choose a vendor associated with high-quality and safe products. You can check their reviews to understand the experiences previous clients have had with them.
Various options are available in the market: roasted, blanched, baked, and slow-roasted. Smoked pig ears can seem savory. Yet, they will likely contain chemicals and contaminants, making them unsuitable for your dog. The best choice would be products that have been slow-roasted or baked. They come with natural taste.
A day can’t go by without you thinking about how to keep your dog healthy and active. Feeding this dog with pig ears is an excellent idea, thanks to their health and nutritional benefits. The insights above illustrate why this is an invaluable choice and how to get the right match.
Are Pig Ears Digestible and Safe?
Pig ears are a safe and healthy treat for your dog. They are easily digestible and chewable, making them a perfect treat. However, you must choose high-quality products to enjoy all the nutritional and health values.
How Many Times Should I Give My Dog Pig Ears?
Pig ears are an excellent treat for your pet. However, it would be best to feed your dog with this treat in moderation. One serving per week is enough to avoid high-fat content ingestion. You might need to adjust the frequency if you notice unusual changes in the dog.
Are Pig Ears Suitable For My Dog?
Yes. Pig ears are a perfect treat for your dog. They help improve chewing abilities, dental health, and hair formation. Yet, you must give your dog limited access to these treats to minimize the chance of obesity in the long run.